Couple needs help with funeral expenses

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 7, 2014


For most young married couples, the words “til death do us part,” reference a far-away, almost unimaginable event. But, tragically, for Andalusia residents Shaun and Caitlin Morgan, it’s an eventuality they will face in a matter of weeks, if not days.

The news that 34-year-old Shaun Morgan has only a short time to live was a bombshell recently dropped on the young couple after years of his remission from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Shaun’s mother-in-law, Cindi Rider Cross, said now the young couple she called “a great love story” are tormented by a combination of impending grief, as well as pending debt.

“My daughter and Shaun met about two years ago,” Cross said. “Caitlin grew up in Andalusia and was home schooled. She moved to L.A. for about a year, where she expected to meet the love of her life. Then she moved back and met Shaun. They fell in love quickly.”

Cross said Caitlin was aware that Shaun, who was diagnosed with type I diabetes at just 17 months old, had battled health problems his entire life, and was in remission from lymphoma at the time. The couple was married in 2012, and a very short time later, Cross said, Shaun’s health began to worsen.

“About two months later he started to show problematic symptoms,” she said. “In September, he was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It was non-responsive to therapy offered at UAB. M.D. Anderson confirmed that there was nothing that could be done. He has, ‘days to weeks,’ is how they termed it.”

Cross said her daughter, who works in the physical therapy field in Andalusia, has taken a leave of absence to care for her husband, but is fighting a battle on two fronts as she attempts to keep him comfortable, while finding ways to fit the bills, all at only 25 years old.

“He’s been on disability, but now he’s not even able to walk to the mailbox,” Cross said. “Within two weeks of being diagnosed, he was dropped from Medicaid. He’s uninsurable.”

Cross said the stress caused by Shaun’s medical bills are only half of the financial problems the couple faces. Burial costs, she said, are astronomical and attempting to find ways to pay for them, all while dealing with an emotionally devastating set of circumstances is more than anyone should ever be faced with.

“It’s just a horrible situation,” she said. “Shaun is an incredibly sensitive, very well-spoken, grace-filled person,” she said. “He worked at Sitel before he got sick, but he’s also an incredible writer. These two just have a great love story. For Caitlin, I’ve never seen her strength until this situation demanded it.”

Cross said she is very thankful for all of the help, friendship and prayers her family has already received, but said any further support, both monetary and emotional, would be greatly appreciated.

“Aside from (the financial aspect), the greatest help is for those who Shaun has known personally, he really enjoys their company when they can visit,” Cross said.

Unfortunately, she added, the money is also a problem as the young couple attempts to face expenditures most people their age won’t encounter for decades.

“We’ve already gotten a lot of help; people have been phenomenal,” Cross said. “I just hate to see Caitlin Saddled with tremendous debt, in addition to this tremendous sorrow.”

Anyone wishing to help the Morgan family in any way, may contact Cross at 334.892.4236.